New Year’s resolutions

I know. Many of us make them, but few manage to successfully live up to them. So I thought that maybe it would strengthen my commitment if I shared my good intentions with a few hundreds of people. Then who knows, a few of them might hold me accountable, get back to me in about half a year and ask: “So, how’s the commitment to your goals?”. By ending Happysad, I’ve already made a clear decision to work on changing myself, but now it’s up to me to deliver the goods. That’s why I need to set specific goals for 2013. Let me share them with you.

Regain enthusiasm. First and foremost, I want to become enthusiastic again. About anything. Anything that can motivate me again. You may not tell from the cartoons(?), but in reality I’m turning into a cynical, grumpy old man. Nothing really stimulates me, there’s hardly any passion in the things I do. Even drawing cartoons often started to feel more like a chore than a fun hobby. I need to rekindle the fire before it dies out completely.

Get energized. Get inspired. In order to reverse the downward spiral of apathy and laziness, I need two things: energy and ideas. Last year, I’ve started to eat more healthily and get more exercise. I picked up running in June and it went very well, until the shitty autumn weather made me stop in October. Stupid, I know. I’ll pick it up again soon, and go for a run at least twice a week. This, I hope, will not only invigorate my body, but also my mind. Because in order to achieve my main goal, I need to get fresh ideas, about what to do and where to go. I know the inspiration is somewhere inside me, I just need to unlock it.

Leave my comfort zone. Probably the biggest challenge of all. Merely coming up with fresh ideas, whether they’re related to cartoons or to something completely different, is not enough. I will need to follow through on them, even if (or especially when) they compel me to leave my comfort zone. Too many times I have missed out on opportunities because of this eternally paralyzing “but what if…?”-thinking. I will find the courage to try out new things and to take risks I’ve been avoiding for too long. This includes making an extra effort to try and meet new people, both in my direct surroundings and in other parts of the world I haven’t seen yet.

Those are my resolutions. So what are your plans for this year?

7 thoughts on “New Year’s resolutions

  1. From reading it and what you have said, I just have to ask: have you talked to anyone about clinical depression? The chemicals in your head may be what you are fighting against. I heartily suggest you go to your doc or other medical person and get a full blood work done. What you are talking about can be caused by lots of different things from Vitamin D deficiency to low testosterone to clinical depression.

    If you have ruled out something physical creating issues, here is my advice: Make a list of 40 things outside your comfort zone. Large things and small things… at least theoretically achievable… work on doing them. I have Obsessive/Compulsive issues and this works well for me to keep my compulsions from overwhelming me. If it is something as seemingly simple as walking to my coffee shop a different way or wearing a piece of clothing you wouldn’t normally wear or talking to that person or combing your hair a different way… ‘What if…’ is the road to madness… do the best you can with what you know now and let the rest alone…

    I don’t know about regaining Enthusiasm… but that is the reason I mentioned clinical depression… maybe find something that you like… really think about that feeling and try to have that feeling about something else… really like steak? think about how you feel when you eat a really good steak… then look for that feeling when you do other things that you use to like.

    If I am being too bold, please ignore me, but know that I have been there and am, mostly, on the other side… it took a lot of soul searching, changes in behavior, medication (not permanently) and consistent work… but I am SO much happier and satisfied with my life. “I’m not saying it won’t be difficult, I’m saying that it will be worth it.”

    Best of luck!


  2. @Elisabeth: thank you for your concern. I knew someone would bring that up :-). Trust me, I know all about clinical depression, the messed up brain chemicals and the meds. I even made a few comics about it in the very early days of Happysad. So I know what it
    ‘s like, and this isn’t it – yet. But sometimes I feel I’m skirting the edges, so that’s why I’m fighting back now. But yes, if all else fails, I know what to do.

  3. Oh good! I hope that you didn’t think I was out of bounds… I’m glad you have that information.

    I will miss your comic, but you need to take care of you.

    Best of luck!

  4. at first i was pretty shocked at your decision of ending happysad, but i can relate so much to this post that now i feel like i totally get your point. best wishes from brazil.

  5. Si tiene el deseo de mejorar, y cambiar por un tiempo de ambiente, es excelente, la vida continúa y hay que aprovecharla y hacer todo eso que a veces simplemente pensamos, somos capaces de muchos mas y a veces no lo sabemos, siga adelante con sus propósitos, quizá un día nos sorprenda con un renovado Happysad, saludos desde Guatemala.

  6. Good luck to you Jeroen!

    And I have some newyears resolutions too! The funny thing about it is that they are a little bit similair to yours.
    For example, i am only a 26 year old girl but sometimes i feel like i am a 96 year old grumpy lady :p. But at the same time i always think “Sanne, stop that.” So that is good. My resolution now is to actually listen to me saying “stop that!”

    And for the creative part of my life, my resolution is: doing again what i love doing and neglected for so long.
    I am a student illustration in Gent. And for my studies i need to do a lot out of my comfort zone, what is good to learn new things but it also reminds me of the things i really love to make and miss doing. So i will finish studing this year in june (or september) and will start doing my own thing again, impressing publishers :D

    And for a second thing!! I have a cartoon idea in the style of happy sad for so long, i really have to make it!!! :D

    Happy 2013

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